I’m overjoyed by today’s news that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 was awarded to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, to Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and to pro-democracy campaigner Tawakkul Karman of Yemen.
Leymah Gbowee’s visionary leadership of the women’s movement that played a transformative role in bringing peace to Liberia has been a core inspiration for the five-part series I have been part of creating, with Abigail Disney and Gini Reticker, for the past three years. How fitting that the premiere of Women, War & Peace takes place next Tuesday, just days after this extraordinary news.
The Nobel committee’s statement that “We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society” touches the very heart of the series.
Women are heavily targeted in today’s wars, but Leymah insists that we grasp one basic truth: that these women are not victims but courageous, resourceful survivors. And if we include their voices and their ideas in the quest for peace and justice, the peace will be more sustainable and the world will be more stable.
Here’s Leymah in her own words at a recent launch event for the series, telling her story of survival, revolution and victory: